After chugging the last quarter bottle of the
beer in his hand, Lt.
Myron Goldman sat the empty bottle on the bar in
front of him.
Staring into the mouth of the container, he
realized abstractly that
his head was beginning to swim. Perhaps he'd had
enough to drink
tonight, but then again, he was pretty sure that
he could still walk,
so perhaps not.
Myron moved the empty beer
bottle up to his lips,
then remembered it was empty and sat it back on
the bar. Looking up,
he dizzily scanned the bar. Goddamnit! Where
was that fuckin'
Myron glanced at the short timer that had moved
into the empty space
next him. Shit! - if he'd wanted company he would
have invited Zeke
along. The kid, Pvt. Williams, pulled a picture
out of his wallet
the bartender finally served up another beer.
Myron could see where
this was going. The kid just had a wake-up to go
before he headed
back to the World, and his head was already
"That my boy, sir," Williams proudly announced,
moving the picture
under Myron's face.
The Lieutenant looked into the chubby round face
of the little
The child was his father in miniature, down to
the expression on his
face. Myron's fuzzy brain found the resemblance
amusing and he
"Name's David, turn one just after I get home,"
accepting the chuckle as permission to continue
chatting to the
Williams had spotted Lt. Goldman drinking alone
in the corner of the
bar as he'd entered with his buddies. The
Lieutenant was obviously
not looking for company, but the private felt for
the officer and
hoped that, maybe, he could remind him that
they'd didn't all go home
in body bags. He knew that was how the L.T. was
feeling right now.
It was how all the guys that had survived the
assault on the firebase
were feeling at the moment.
His buddies had warned him to keep his distance.
They all knew of
Goldman's short-fuse, and the officer had made it
clear to everyone
that he wasn't feeling friendly. But the
Lieutenant had done a real
decent thing getting the private transferred into
the motor pool
he'd been wounded with only a month to go in his
tour. The wound
hadn't been bad enough to get him sent home
early, but it could be
fudged into being bad enough to get him out of
the field. Somehow,
Lt. Goldman had managed it and Williams figured
he owed the L.T. the
effort of trying to cheer up the despondent
"Yeah, Maggie, that's my wife, she planning a
real blow-out of a
for the little guy," the private rambled on,
"kinda silly, really,
Davey's too little to understand, but, man, is
Maggie ever excited."
Williams paused for breath, hoping the L.T.'d
join in the
conversation. Myron just sat there staring
dolefully at the little
face in the photo. Maybe he'd picked the wrong
The Lieutenant had spent the past couple days
writing to the families
of his guys. Williams couldn't imagine being an
officer and having
write home when one of your guys bought it,
seemed like it would
rip a guy's heart out. To have to do it for
three-quarter of his
platoon at once, the private couldn't begin to
understand how a guy
like Lt. Goldman survived having to do that.
"She's invited just about everyone in town,"
"guess she figures it'll be a good welcome home
for me, too. She's
real sweet that way, my Maggie."
The private dug into his wallet for another
picture. Myron, resigned
to the private's presence, let himself begin to
enjoy the reminder
that life was still going on out there somewhere.
Taking the picture
from the private, he studied the face of the
pretty young woman.
There was something comforting about the photo -
the happy, innocent
young mother holding her happy, innocent baby.
"Pretty," Myron managed to slur out.
"Yes, sir!" Williams responded enthusiastically,
"prettiest girl in
town. Can you believe she stuck herself with a
chump like me?
Amazing, isn't it?" Williams was pleased when the
one of the half-smiles that the private had
gotten so used to back at
"God! I don't how I'd have gotten through my
tour without her, sir,"
Williams commented, "wrote me nearly everyday.
Course, mostly her
letters were pretty boring, but man, they were
sure nice to get all
The Lieutenant smiled again. Something about the
was actually starting to make the world seem a
little less bleak.
Myron turned to face the private as he continued
with the one-sided
conversation. The kid was going home, alive and
in one-piece. He'd
just lost most of his platoon - his presence, his
done shit to save their lives, but at least this
kid was going to
it home. Maybe his presence in Nam wasn't as
pointless as it was
seeming lately. He'd gotten the kid transferred
to the rear, and now
he was going home to a wife and a baby and a
Myron handed the photo back, catching sight of
the grenade tossed
the center of the crowded bar just as it
exploded. The sound echoed
though his foggy brain as he felt himself forced
backward. Pain shot
through his skull as his head collided with the
wall and the world
around him faded slowly into blackness.
Williams was conscious of the murderous ache
resounding through his
skull but he couldn't seem to focus on anything
else. The world
around him was dark and heavy. He tried to fight
back the pain, to
focus, but his thoughts were too slippery. The
effort seemed to
the little strength he had, and the Private let
himself slip back
the peaceful oblivion of unconsciousness.
Myron struggled to breath through the searing
pain that seemed to
taken over his body. The most he could seem to
manage were short,
desperate gasps that didn't seem to bring in much
air. He tried to
remember where he was - the bar. He'd been
drinking at the bar and
there was a grenade. The horror of the memory
suddenly flooded back
into his consciousness. There'd be wounded, he
should be doing
something. He struggled to move but it just made
the agonizing pain
more intense and he soon lost consciousness.
"This one's had it!"
"Just get him out of here, let the Docs sort out the
The shouting voices pulled at the Myron's
consciousness and he heard
himself moan as felt himself lifted and placed
onto to a stretcher.
He tried to get his eyes to focus but they
wouldn't seem to open,
they'd been glued shut. A weak gurgle was all
that he heard when he
tried to speak and then he began to panic as he
realized he was
drowning. He could feel the liquid in his lungs
pushing out the
little air he'd been getting before he'd been
laid flat. He
to move, to sit up, to get help, anything - but
the blackness pulling
him down was too strong and he slipped back into
Williams felt the heavy weight that had been
pinning him to the wall
suddenly pulled away. He struggled to pull
himself back into
consciousness. Tentatively he opened his eyes,
trying to focus on
the smoky, chaotic room around him instead of the
through his skull. He could see a body being
lifted onto a stretcher
in front of him and guessed that was what had
been pressing on him.
It was creepy how much the wounded soldier looked
like him. He
his eyes again for just a second to shake of the
chill that the sight
of the soldier had sent through him. As he
opened them again he
suddenly remembered the Lieutenant. He'd been
chatting with Lt.
"Man! I hope the L.T. 's all right," he
muttered to himself. The
private struggled to his feet, sliding up the
wall to make sure he
didn't loose his balance, and looked around at
the mangled bodies
"Whoa, take it easy there, sir.
Williams didn't realize that the soldier was
speaking to him until an
arm grabbed him. Startled, the private flinched
"It's all right, sir, all over now," the soldier
tried to soothe the
shaken officer, "let me help you out of here."
"Sir?" Pvt. Williams couldn't understand why
they guy kept calling
him sir. He shook the fellow off, "gotta find
"Don't worry, sir, we'll find your buddy. You'd
better let a doc
check you out."
There he went again calling him "sir." Pvt.
Williams shook his head
in confusion. The motion sent him spinning in a
wave of dizziness
he collapsed against he soldier helping him.
Reluctantly, he let the
guy help him out of the demolished bar.
"Lieutenant! Lieutenant!" Pvt. Williams heard
the shouting, but
didn't really register it.
"L.T.! You okay? God, man, figured you'd had it
when we saw the bar
go up. I got him!" Johnson exclaimed all in one
the soldier helping his L.T.
"Hmmm," Pvt. Williams responded, confused.
Johnson was talking to
the L.T. but holding on to him. What the hell
"Come on L.T., let's get ya to a Doc," Johnson
suggested as he began
moving with the officer.
"No, no, I'm fine. Just a little dazed. Just
wanna get back to my
hootch," the private had no idea what was
happening and he wanted a
few minutes alone to figure it out before he had
to talk to anyone.
"I don't know, sir, you ain't looking so good,"
responded. The L.T. reeked of alcohol and,
despite his concern over
the L.T.'s appearance, Johnson knew better than
to argue too much
a drunk Lt. Goldman.
"Just help me get to my hootch," the private
ordered with all the
force he could manage. If everyone was going to
keep calling him
"sir," he was going to use it to get out of here,
"consider it an
"Yes, sir," Johnson reluctantly agreed, helping
the Lieutenant to
jeep they'd left parked nearby. He shot a quick
glance at Taylor,
hoping his buddy'd understand that he wanted him
to go get Sarge.
Taylor got the message loud and clear and bolted
off to find Sgt.
Anderson. Drunk or not, they were worried about
their L.T., he
to let the Doc have a look at him. They'd just
lost too many of
buddies to lose the L.T. to his stubbornness.
Sarge would know how
handle this without all their butts ending up in
a sling for pissing
off their c.o.
Myron fought to remember what was happening as he
grasped hold of a
tiny piece of consciousness. He was only vaguely
aware of the sounds
around him, but he knew he was moving. Every
step sent new waves of
agonizing pain surging through his body. God!
Wherever they were
taking him, he hoped they got there soon.
"Get him to the front of the line"
"Front of the line," what the hell did that
mean. He felt himself
transferred to a solid gurney. Somewhere in the
little bit of
consciousness he was clinging to, he realized he
was in a hospital.
"Front of the line" - the meaning finally sunk
into his weary brain.
He was hurt badly, badly enough to get rushed
ahead of the rest of
wounded. Myron tried to catch something more
from the din of voices
around him. He wanted to know just how badly,
but the effort
distracted too much him from his struggle to
breath. Coughing and
sputtering, he felt himself loose his grasp on
the fragile bit of
Williams sat on the bunk, exhausted and confused,
throbbing skull between his hands. He just
needed to sit for a
minute, get the ache to back down enough for him
to think. At least
he was finally alone, he was relieved about that.
Johnson had brought him to the officer's
quarters. Not understanding
and too tired to try, Williams had been forced to
allow his escort to
guide him inside. For a few dreadful seconds as
he was trying to
Johnson out the door, he was afraid his escort
was going to camp out
with him, but then Johnson had relented and
Wham, wham, wham.
The sound at the door startled him, sending fresh
stabs of pain
through his head. Damnit! They were never going
to leave him alone.
Standing slowly, he held his head as a wave of
send him crashing to the floor.
"Sir?!, Sir?!" came the concerned voice through
the door, "Sir, it's
"Well, at least they're not just barging in,"
Williams thought to
himself, still waiting for the dizziness to pass.
Then he remembered
he'd locked the door behind him.
"Sir?!" Wham, wham, wham.
"Shit!! Can't they just go away," the private
muttered as the
pounding vibrated through the floor and up his
spinal cord to his
weary, aching brain.
"Go away!" he pleaded.
"Please open the door, sir," the voice
Williams realized he wasn't going to get rid of
the Sergeant without
talking to him and reluctantly opened the door.
"What do you want?" he asked wearily, still
holding his head with
"Just thinking maybe you ought to let us take you
over to the Doc,
sir," Zeke explained, trying to keep his voice
Taylor had warned him that the L.T. wasn't
looking so good, but Zeke
still hadn't been prepared for the taut, ghostly
pale face that
greeted him. He became even more worried as he
looked into his
Lieutenant's eyes. It wasn't Myron.
"Go away," the private muttered as he slammed
the door closed.
"Sir! L.T.!" Wham, wham, wham. "Myron!"
Williams leaned his back against the door, trying
to stop the racket
from echoing through his head. He slowly slid to
the floor and let
his head flop forward to rest on his knees as he
gave in to his
The private was dimly aware that his surroundings
weren't right as he
woke up. It took him a few seconds to realize
he was on the floor,
but he wasn't sure what floor. Rising slowly, he
kept his hand
planted firmly against the door to fight against
the dizziness. Once
on his feet, the chaotic events of night came
crowding back into his
mind and he stumbled towards the sink to splash
some water on his
face. He had to clear his head enough to figure
out what was
Williams looked up as the cold water dripped down
his face and had to
quickly grasp hold of the sink as the face in the
send him back to the floor. Lt. Goldman. He
reached up shakily and
touched the chin of the face staring back at him.
The private felt
his fingers rub against the stubble of the face
in the mirror.
Feeling his knees go, he dropped his hand back
down to the sink and
slowly lowered himself to the floor. Waiting for
the wave of
dizziness and nausea to pass, he suddenly
remembered the body he'd
seen lifted onto the stretcher - the one that had
looked so much like
him. It was him.
He tried to jump up, but found his knees a little
too unsteady still.
Rising more cautiously, he made his way slowly
towards the door.
Opening it, he found Sgt. Anderson.
"Sir?!" the Sergeant exclaimed.
Williams pushed past him, he didn't have the
energy to deal with him
now. He could hear the Sergeant keeping pace
behind him as he made
his way toward...he wasn't sure. The private
stopped and waited for
Zeke to catch up.
"Need to check on Pvt. Williams," he explained as
Zeke came around to
"Pvt. Williams?" the concerned Sergeant
"Yeah, he was talking to me just before... Got to
see if he's gonna
all right," he responded, more pleading than
Zeke was growing more concerned about his L.T. by
the second, he
didn't seem right at all. At least he wanted to
go the right
direction. After they'd checked on Williams,
Zeke would sit the
officer down and have a Doc check him out.
"Wait here, sir, I'll grab a jeep." Sgt.
worried the officer would change his mind before
he got back.
Williams jumped out of the jeep as Zeke hit on
the brakes. Bursting
through the doors, he searched for anyone that
could tell him where
could find, well, where he could find himself.
"Excuse me, m'am," he reached out to a female
officer standing off
the side, "I need to find a wounded soldier."
The nurse darted her eyes around the room.
"I mean I need to find one of the soldiers
wounded in the bar
explosion tonight," the private elaborated, "His
"Wait, here. I'll see what I can do," she
"Maybe you ought to let a Doc have a look at you
while your waiting,
sir," Zeke pressured, grabbing hold of an arm.
Williams jumped, he'd
forgotten that he hadn't arrived alone.
"I'm fine!" the private insisted, shaking the
in the direction the nurse had gone, he
impatiently paced, carefully
keeping out of Zeke's reach.
"This way, Lieutenant," the nurse announced as
"Wait here!" Williams ordered the Sergeant
obediently behind the nurse.
He hesitated as his guide came to a stop in front
of a bed. Suddenly
the private wasn't so sure he wanted to see the
soldier she was
blocking from his view. Closing his eyes as she
moved aside, he took
several deep breaths before opening them again
and fixing on the mass
of bandages and tubes lying in the bed. He
studied him - the blood
seeping through the bandages, the tube sending
oxygen into his lungs
the deathly pallor of his skin. Williams felt
the dizziness he
managed to keep at bay start to overwhelm him
"Any chance?" Williams choked out as he pushed
down a wave of
He didn't need the nurse to tell him the soldier
in the bed wasn't
going to make but he couldn't seem to stop
himself from asking anyway.
"Hard to say for sure 'bout these things," she
shrugging her shoulders.
"Could I sit with him for a while?"
The nurse nodded affirmatively indicating the
chair that she'd subtly
pulled over to the bedside. She seen the pain in
the officer's eyes
as he'd asked to be taken to the soldier and
suspected he would be
hanging around for a while.
"Take all the time you need, sir," she whispered
as Williams moved
toward the offered chair, but he'd already
forgotten she was there.
Sitting down slowly, Williams gingerly reached
for the limp hand next
to him. Grabbing the hand firmly, he closed his
eyes trying sort out
what he needed to say. During the jeep ride and
while he waited for
the nurse, the private had tried to figure out
what had happened and
why, and had finally reached a conclusion.
"Sir? Lt. Goldman?" Williams whispered, "Sir,
can you hear me?
Myron felt something pulling him back from the
deep oblivion into
which he'd been comfortably sinking. Someone had
picked up his had
and was holding it tightly. Someone was speaking
to him. Myron
fought to understand the words through the
drug-induced haze keeping
the pain at bay.
"Sir?" Williams whispered, "Squeeze my hand if
can you hear me,
the private paused, praying the L.T. would
respond, and was rewarded
with a barely perceptible squeeze from the hand
he was holding.
"Sir," the private continued, leaning closer to
the bed, "Sir, it's
me Williams. It's gonna be all right, sir, I
just need you to give
a little time. Just need you to hang on through
the night, sir."
Myron tried to hold on to the slippery strands of
the voice sent into the blackness, but he was too
to grasp that the voice wanted him to hang on.
It wasn't the words
much that had reached him, but the desperation
surging through the
hand that was holding his. Myron wanted, with
desperation, to let go. It took too much effort
to keep himself
sinking deeper into the black, painless void that
was pulling at him
with increasing strength. He was just so tired.
"Just give me till morning, sir," the private
pleaded, then gave the
hand a finally squeeze before gently placing it
back on the bed and
rising. Turning away, Williams rushed towards
the door. There was
too much to do in too little time.
"Anderson, let's go!" Williams shouted at the
Sergeant as he
towards him, "Gotta get back to my hootch, NOW!"
Zeke only hesitated for a second before following
the L.T. to the
jeep. He knew the L.T. hadn't seen a doc yet,
but the tone of his
voice let no room for argument. At least, the
jumped into the drivers seat.
Aware of each passing second, Williams tumbled
out of the jeep as it
began to slow. Hitting the ground harder than
planned, he dropped on
one knee, only barely managing to throw his arms
out in time to keep
himself from landing on his face. Scrambling up,
he dashed for the
door, slamming it shut and locking it behind him
before jeep finished
sliding to a stop behind him.
Feeling vaguely self-conscious about rifling
through Lt. Goldman's
belongings, Williams urgently searched the hootch
for paper. As he
searched he scolded himself for not having done
this sooner. Most of
the guys he knew had a letter adressed and ready
to mail home in case
they bought it. The letter was their chance to
say goodbye, in their
own words. A chance to say all those things a
person always meant to
say but never got around to saying. But he'd
never written one for
fear that saying goodbye would make it happen -
now he was running
Finding some paper and a pen, he settled down to
write. His hand was
too shaky, making the word eligible. Setting the
pen down and
his eyes, he took several deep breaths and forced
himself to calm
down. Opening his eyes again, he picked up the
been and, quickly but
steadily, began his first letter.
"My Dearest Maggie....."
Folding his first letter and setting it aside,
Williams glanced at
time. He'd spent three hours writing to his
sweet, beautiful Maggie
this was taking too long, but there was so much
to say. Grabbing a
new sheet, he began his next letter.
Myron began to struggle as he felt himself
slipping deeper into the
blackness. The hand that had held his had so
desperately needed him
to hang on that he fought with every ounce of his
soul to stay alive.
Some small awareness kept telling him that it
wasn't time to let go
yet. He had to keep breathing.
"Shhhh," a hand grasped his and held it tightly,
"shhh, it's all
right," a soothing voice spoke softly as another
hand gently caressed
He stopped struggling as he clung tightly to the
hand. He knew he
could hold on as long as it didn't let go.
Finishing the second letter, Williams folded it
and set it aside.
sun would be up soon, but he only had one more
letter to write.
Pulling out a fresh sheet of paper his began his
"Dear Lt. Goldman...."
Myron grasped the hand holding his tighter,
although only dimly aware
of the increasing light around him, he sensed
somehow that it would
soon be time for him to stop fighting. He found
it strange that
struggling so hard for so many hours to grasp
hold of some small
strand of consciousness, his mind was finally
beginning to clear as
began to relax and let go. Myron found he could
again, and he found himself hoping that the hand
that had so
desperately needed him to hold on would
understand that he had to let
Williams was amazed at the sense of peace that
overwhelmed him as he
folded up the last letter and set it aside. He
didn't see any
envelopes immediately handy, so he quickly
addressed the outer sheet
of each thickly folded letter. Once finished, he
rose and moved
towards the door. His brain was too weary to
think. Only one
managed to worm its way through the fog that was
him - the Lieutenant. He should get back to the
Stepping out of the hootch, he was startled by
the weak rays of the
just rising sun and quickly threw up a hand to
eyes while they adjusted. Sergeant Anderson,
asleep in the jeep
parked outside his door was also startled,
tripping over his feet as
he tried to hurry out of the vehicle.
Williams ignored the Sergeant as he carefully
made his way around the
jeep and began walking. The sunlight, the air
around him, the early
morning sounds of the base, the smells - he
wanted to experience it
all, but he could feel himself being pulled away.
Myron's grip on the hand holding his relaxed as
the glow from the
morning sun increased around him. It was almost
time, he could feel
it in every part of his mind and body. Soon he
could rest in the
blissful peace he'd had to struggle against for
Williams knew he had dawdled too long - the time
Stopping, he turned his face towards the rising
sun and let himself
melt into the beauty of the reds and oranges
streaking across the
azure sky. There was still the tiniest strand of
him there and it took him a moment to realize how
to break it.
"It's all right, sir," he whispered to the
rising sun, "you can let
go, now. Thank you."
Zeke watched as his Lieutenant stopped suddenly a
few yards from the
jeep. The L.T. stood still for a moment then
began to weave and the
Sergeant ran to catch him as he fell.
Myron's hand fell to the bed as he let the
tension release from his
body. Finally he was slipping unrestrained into
the peace that had
been waiting for him and he welcomed it with
every ounce of his being.
The duty-nurse jumped as Zeke flew threw the door
"He's not breathing!" the Sergeant managed to
gasp out as he
relinquished his L.T. to an orderly.
Zeke calmly watched as a Doc rushed in to assist
the nurse that had
already begun trying to resuscitate the fallen
officer. He found his
calmness strange, not realizing that he numbness
taking over him was
shock from the suddenness of the Lieutenant's
collapse. It seemed to
him that half the day passed as he watched and
waited. Finally, the
mass of people frantically moving around his L.T.
backed away and the
room became calm. Zeke prepared himself for the
news as the
duty-nurse walked towards him.
"Strangest thing, Sergeant, all of the sudden his
beating again and he was breathing on his own.
We checked him out,
but he seems fine," she informed him, "we broke
several of his ribs,
though, so he'll be here for a few days. We'd
want him to stay for a
few days, anyway, though. The Doc will want to
check him out, see if
he can figure out what just happened."
Zeke found it odd that he would he would get
upset now that it was
over, but he felt himself begin to tremble. The
nurse wrapped an arm
around him and lead him to a chair.
"It's all right, Sergeant," she whispered
soothingly, patting his
arm, "they'll have him settled in a bed in a few
minutes, then you
sit with him for a while." She patted his arm a
few more times, then
left him in peace to pull himself together.
Myron woke slowly, not wanting to let go of the
the dream just slipping away. He was vaguely
aware of the steady
stare bearing down on him as he started to pull
himself up, only
getting as far as his elbows before the broken
themselves. Moaning loudly, he only barely
stopped himself from
collapsing back in the bed.
"Let me help you up there, sir," Zeke offered as
Myron up against a pillow. "How you feeling,
Myron rolled his eyes at the Sergeant.
"Yeah, pretty rough, huh? Zeke answered for him,
"took a few years
off MY life, you did, sir.
"You remember how you got here, sir?" the
"Hmmm," Myron paused to think, closing his eyes
and relaxing against
What did he remember - he asked himself. He
remembered sitting at
bar trying to drink the faces of his lost platoon
out of his memory.
After that it all became a chaotic nightmare of
pain and fear, but no
clear images. Then there'd been the most amazing
sense of peace, so
unimaginable and indescribable that the memory of
it was already
slipping out of his grasp. Now, he was here.
"A grenade?" Myron thought he could vaguely
remember a grenade, "at
"Yes, sir," Zeke confirmed.
"Hmmm," Myron responded as he drifted back to
sleep. He felt
completely drained and hoped, just maybe, he
could catch hold of the
serenity he'd felt before and rest a while longer
in it before
returning to the harsh reality of his life.
Zeke watched him for a few minutes longer before
rising to leave and
it struck him just how attached he was getting to
butter-bar. The Sergeant was tempted to stay,
but he had work to do
a new platoon to build. Besides, Myron needed to
rest and wouldn't
get that with Zeke staring at him. Silently, the
away, ignoring the fleeting fear that the L.T.
wouldn't be there when
he came back.
Relieved to be away from the poking, prodding and
of the medical staff, Myron shuffled towards his
bunk. Despite his
eagerness to collapse into it, something caught
his eye. Turning, he
spotted several thickly folding bundles of
papers. He picked them up
and opened one at random. "Dear Davey....", the
letter began, and a
vague memory crept towards his consciousness.
through the volumes of pages he came to the
signature, it was signed
"your loving father, Private 1st Class Bruce
Myron stumbled backwards towards the bed and sat
down. Zeke had told
him the private had been killed in the explosion,
and Myron hadn't
really thought about the young man again. He'd
lost so many men
lately that he'd really just been relieved that
he wouldn't be the
to have to write the kid's family. Now his mind
raced as he tried
figure out why the letter would be in his hootch.
He found his
drifting towards a painful, chaotic nightmare and
he pulled away,
returning his focus to the letters in his hand.
Opening the next letter, he found that it was
addressed to Williams'
wife. He was tempted to read it, but then
thought about how he'd
if it were his letter and carefully folded it
back up. However they
got here, he'd mail them and hope they brought
some peace to the
Opening the third letter, he was startled to find
it addressed to
After carefully setting the other two aside, he
began to cautiously
Wham, wham, wham.
Myron looked up as his Sergeant entered, hoping
he brushed the tears
away quickly enough to hide them from Zeke.
"What is it, Sergeant," he inquired with as
little inflection as he
"Newbies are geared up and ready to go, sir.
Heading back to
soon?" Zeke asked trying to keep the L.T. from
knowing he'd seen his
"Sending us back tomorrow."
"Heading over for a drink. Care to join me,
sir?" the Sergeant
offered, the boy looked like he could use a
shoulder to cry on.
"Not right now, Zeke. Later, maybe."
The Sergeant could tell that persistence wasn't
the approach to take
with his officer on this occasion and quietly
Realizing with the bang of the door that he was
alone again, Myron
reached for a cigarette and laid back, resting
his head in the curve
of his arm and thought about the closing words of
The private had thanked Myron for giving him the
chance to say
goodbye. Myron wasn't sure how to feel about the
rest of the bizarre
scenerio the private had laid out for him or the
that had followed, but those final words had
given the Lieutenant
measure of peace.
He'd been feeling pretty
lousy for surviving at
Ladybird when so many of his men hadn't survived.
As he was writing
to his guys' families, Myron had thought about
going back to the
firebase with a new platoon of fresh-faced kids
and it had seemed
than he could do. After reading Williams'
letter, he knew he could
it and, maybe, he'd be able to keep one or two of
them alive to go